How Are the Average Joe and Jane Jr. Doing?

Eat Healthy

Comparisons of "Average" to "Ideal" Children and Teens

How do your kids measure up? Check out the “ideal” and “average” stats below and see how close your kids come to meeting the recommendations for fruits, vegetables, and physical activity.

Boys
Average
9-12 boy
Ideal
9-12 boy
Change Needed Avg.
13-18 teen boy
Ideal 13-18 teen boy Change Needed
Fruit and vegetable servings eaten per day 3.3 7 +3.7 3.5 9 +5.5 servings
Days per week getting at least 20 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity 3.7 5 to 7 + 1.3 to + 3.3 + 1.3 to + 3.3 5 to 7 +2 to 4 more days per week
Girls
Average
9-12 girl
Ideal
9-12 girl
Change Needed Avg.
13-18 teen girl
Ideal 13-18 teen girl Change Needed
Fruit and vegetable servings eaten per day 3.7 7 +3.3 3.1 7 +4 servings
Days per week getting at least 20 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity 3.5 5 to 7 + 1.5 to
+ 3.5
2.8 5 to 7 +2 to 4 more days per week

Actions speak louder than words:

  • Sixty-four percent of 9-18 year olds are interested in eating a healthy diet, but on average they eat only 3.4 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. For active teens, that’s less than half the amount recommended for good health.
  • Most kids (nearly 81% of kids ages 9-18) say they enjoy playing sports or other physical activities, but they only get about three days of physical activity a week on average and participate in only one sports team a year.

Eat well, play well…The two go hand-in-hand:

  • Kids ages 9-12 who eat 7 or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day are more likely to enjoy physical activities such as jogging, running, walking and playing volleyball than kids who eat fewer servings.
  • Teens ages 13-18 who eat at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day are more likely to enjoy physical activities such as jogging, running, swimming, and playing basketball than teens who eat fewer servings.

The sex difference:

  • Girls are more likely than boys to be interested in eating healthy. (Almost 70% girls ages 9-12 compared to less than 60% of boys ages 9-12. Over 70% of girls ages 13-18 compared to 59% of boys ages 13-18.)
  • Research indicates that girls are more likely than boys to be concerned with their appearance, which may lead them to make healthier food choices. Nearly 20% of girls ages 9-12 and nearly 23% of girls ages 13-18 daydream about “being good looking.” Boys are more likely to daydream about being heroes (nearly 37% ages 9-12 and nearly 24% ages 13-18.)

Find out how to include more fruits and vegetables - in all forms - into your family's meals every day.

Tips for Family Nutrition

Calculate Your BMI

Figure your Body Mass index (BMI) using your weight and height.
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